Welcome to Balanced Rocks: Pictures and Stories

Beginning March 16,2010, I began a journey of balancing rocks. I hold to the practice of setting to balance at least five sculptures a day, sometimes, many more. Of these I take lots of pictures and videos. While conducting this adventure, I have been introduced to an incredible unfolding story. Additionally, I discovered this phenomenon is manifesting worldwide. As I post pictures and stories, I found many others similarly engaged and sharing their works. Additionally, as folks come upon me performing my work, many want to find out how this is done and try themselves. This blog shares this work in both pictures and stories. Enjoy


A seeming impossibility becomes possible

Rock Balancing: The Beginning

On a fine summer day, sometime in August, 2009, I was visiting family in Toronto. Like most folks spending summer in a large city, we used up as much time as we could finding outdoor events that would cool us. One afternoon, we headed to the Beaches section of East Toronto. After spending some time playing in a large sandbox in the shade with my grandkids and some of their newfound companions, we headed to the Boardwalk that extends from Balmy Beach to Kew Gardens. Ella accompanied me, Liam took off with his mom, Natalie. They ventured down the boardwalk, Ella and I headed onto the sand toward the water’s edge. Halfway there we encountered what looked like a small size Stonehenge.

About a dozen sculptures were gathered together in a rough circle. Each was a stack of two or three rocks balanced one on another. The tallest one was slightly taller than Ella, who was small average height for a five year older. All were in the neighborhood of three feet and four feet tall. What immediately jumped out was the precarious nature of the balancing. Most points of contact were miraculously slight. Most seemed to be standing on a point. Two more folks were witnessing this amazing display. We imagined that there must be small metal rods embedded at the point of contact, or else some kind of glue was used. Each of us peered from close low angles to detect what could account for this mystical display. Ella, not being so cautious, toppled one structure over. Luckily, it did not land on her.

I hurried over and picked up the fallen rock. I saw no evidence of a rod or glue. It indeed had been balanced on its pedestal. I lifted it up and tried to place it back where I reckoned it had been balanced. I cautioned Ella, to be careful and not upset any more sculptures and went about the task of finding balance. I was not successful and struggled immensely but did not find the magic spot where stability could be achieved. After a lengthy effort, an attractive Asian woman about my age approached and gently nudged me aside offering to demonstrate her work. She pointed to the spot she would set the stone upon. She called it by a foreign name. To me it looked like a slight dimple.

Placing the small end of the upper rock into that hollow, she deftly and quickly moved it around, slightly twisting and cajoling it into position. The sight of this slender woman with longish graying hair performing an intricate dance with a rock slightly larger than her head emanated calmness. It seemed only the ends of her fingers were used to achieve these small movements. Apparently, equilibrium was close. Shortly she was done and withdrew her palms which naturally assumed an open prayer posture. The rock I had grappled with was majestically resting in its previous stable state. She next went over and reset two other structures, I had not noticed were also amiss. I just took them to be part of the rubble strewn about the beach. Now all the display was standing and providing a small sense of order in our chaotic world.

I never got this woman’s name, but heard her story. She had set this display up for the purpose of taking pictures, one of which she hoped to use for a cover of a book she was publishing. Unfortunately not getting her name makes it difficult to find her book. But I carried away with me the sight of her presentation and the incredible feeling I had witnessed an amazing ethereal event. I also felt an urge to explore this practice.

Rock in the Snow

Rock in the Snow
January in Toronto

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Desperate Scam. September, 1975: Huntsville, AL

Driving with Rick across the breadth of Southwest United States was intense. We were both determined to reach the Southeast rapidly. I was headed to Gainesville Florida, he to Gainesville Georgia. I wanted to get to my sister’s house in time for my birthday. I do not know what propelled Rick. He had a camper on the back of his Pickup that had a bunk, cooking facilities and a small table. Sometimes, we both shared the cab and could converse, otherwise one of us would drive and the other in back resting. We both seemed to be carrying the same types of food, namely, oatmeal, coffee, and sugar. The difference was I had powdered milk and avocadoes, he had real milk in a cooler. We agreed to use his milk in the oatmeal, my powdered milk in our coffee. He did not like avocadoes and we agreed to not touch the remaining Coors Beers I was bringing to David, my sister’s husband. I was light on money but Rick said he had enough for gas. As long as I could share the driving we would stay on the road.
In the midpoint of our second night we ran into some trouble half way through Arkansas. One of his front wheel bearings was making a loud squeal and showed signs of not being able to hold up much longer. I wondered the significance of a second wheel bearing going bad on this leg of my journey. Fortunately, we happened upon an all night truck stop having a garage which could affect a repair. Unfortunately this dipped into Rick’s cash reserves to the extent that we might not have enough money for gas. After getting under way, I pondered a solution. One that sprang forward was a tinge illegal but seemed workable. I suggested that in the morning we go into a small county seat so I could apply for food stamps. We could show the cooking facilities in Rick’s truck as home. If this worked, I would barter the stamps for gas, not quite what they were intended for, but a possible way out.
Before morning we pulled into the town square in Huntsville, Alabama. Rick slept in back, I dozed in the cab. Warmth and bustle of mid morning woke me and I found the Food Stamp office across the square. Leaving Rick to his slumber, I went over and began the process of applying for food aid. The woman handling my case was friendly and quite willing to accept my story of living in a camper. Apparently that was not unheard of in these parts and she did not even ask to inspect my facilities. However, she did ask where I was camping. There happened to be a large scale map of the county posted on the wall in her office. Upon hearing her question I leapt up and peering at the map, hastily pointed to the location of my fictitious campsite. She looked where I was pointing and quickly stated,” Oh, that’s Lester’s property. He shoots folks who trespass out there.” Immediately, I rescinded my request for stamps and announced, “Wow, then I guess I better be leaving this county and heading back north.” She agreed that would be a good idea. I returned to give Rick the flat news of my failure to scam food stamps.
After a few moments Rick hatched a scam of his own. He had been holding a quantity of “Black Beauties,” a form of speed that was popular with truck drivers. He figured on heading over to the nearest truck stop and dealing enough of these to gain gas money. I felt bad he had to part with his stash and I was not able to help. However, we drove to a nearby trucker’s haven and it took him no time to find a willing customer. Before long we headed out to finish the last leg of our cross country dash.


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Blog Archive

About Me, Part One

My photo
Rock Balancing: The Beginning. What began as a journal of my travels took a hiatus when I began to settle in Ithaca NY. In the meantime, I took up the practice of setting rocks to balance. I returned to my blog to begin recording this story

Part, The second

On Easter Sunday Morning, 2008, I made a decision to settle in the Ithaca New York area. At the same time, I decided to continue to post my blog, However, the stories now will come from the archive stored internally. These will be the stories I gathered while on previous journeys and never entrusted to paper. The date of each posting will not reflect the date of the story being related but will mark the date that narrative got inscribed.

Carry wood

Carry wood
33 years later

Part: The third

I took a brief hiatus from my daily blog writing. I did not know the direction it would take. part of me thought I would abandon it. It turns out I missed it. The old title "On the Road Again' is no longer apt. It appears I am settling. The travel stories will age to a point, when I will probably resusitiate them and do something with them. I dusted off some old stories and begin this new series.
Thr first is one was written two years ago. I edited it and begin again a series that is more apropos to someone settling in upper New York State. They are meant to warm, amuse, educate and sometimes inflame.